Any Small Goodness: A Novel Of The Barrio (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

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FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Arturo, his family, and friends share all kinds of experiences living in the barrio of East Los Angeles. A novel filled with hope, love and warmth.
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Overview

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Arturo, his family, and friends share all kinds of experiences living in the barrio of East Los Angeles. A novel filled with hope, love and warmth.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
This episodic novel is a wonderful addition to the small number of children's books about Latino characters. Eleven-year-old Arturo lives in the barrio of East Los Angeles, having moved with his family from Mexico several years earlier. Although theirs is a poor and sometimes dangerous neighborhood, Arturo, his family and his friends resolve to make it a better place to live—and succeed. Humor and warmth fill the text, which weaves in Spanish words defined in a glossary.
—Kristin Kloberdanz
Children's Literature
According to Arturo Rodriguez's father, there is good and bad in life, and, if the good is lacking, then one must create some. Eleven-year-old Arturo has seen plenty of both in the barrio of East Los Angeles, where his family has moved since leaving Mexico. In a series of vignettes, Arturo provides a glimpse of the richness and goodness which permeates this Hispanic community, as well as the elements that strain to tear it apart. Beginning with a sensitive chapter on names and identity, this novel proves to be engaging and revealing at the same time. Arturo is a very perceptive youth who has a high degree of self-worth and cultural identity. His narration of events may be through a child's eyes, but his insight into different situations is at a different maturity level. Sometimes, the difference between the two is a little jarring. What he learns quickly about the barrio is that whatever you love is always at risk. This becomes painstakingly clear when his house becomes the target of a drive by shooting one evening. Johnston's novel is moving and culturally sensitive with its incorporation of numerous Spanish words and phrases. She has done a wonderful job of portraying a community that is so often represented in just a negative light. 2001, Blue Sky Press, $15.95. Ages 9 to 13. Reviewer: Jeanette Lambert
KLIATT
This lovely and affecting book is narrated by Arturo Rodriguez, born in Mexico and now growing up in the barrio of East Los Angeles. He is 11 when the novel opens, and about 14 when it ends, part of a close, loving family whose members help him understand and face the challenges of life in this new place. As his father says, "In life there is bueno and there is malo. If you do not find enough of the good, you must yourself create it...any small goodness is of value." Arturo learns to seek out the good, and to appreciate the special people around him who are role models. These range from his skinny, feisty grandmother, who helps Arturo and his friends understand that "going gringo" and taking American names meaning turning their backs on their families and their history; a kind elderly man, who spends a night in a tree to rescue their family cat; a former NBA basketball player who helps to coach their school team, motivated by love, not money; a determined librarian, a "book-warrior," who manages to get the students the new books they need; and a policeman, who replaces Arturo's little sister's beloved pink lunchbox when their house is strafed in a drive-by shooting by a local gang. Terribly upset by the shooting, Arturo is moved to ven-geance—he forms a gang of his own, dedicated to doing good and donating to the needy. This might make the book sound corny, but it really doesn't come across that way, thanks to Arturo's convincing narration (sprinkled with Spanish words and details of delicious meals), memorable characters, and a great sense of humor. This warm, funny portrayal of barrio life and the power of good will touch and uplift all readers. Includes a glossary of Spanishwords. KLIATT Codes: J*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Scholastic, Blue Sky Press, 128p. 99-059877., $15.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
VOYA
Remember Andy Griffith's Mayberry? There everyone was friendly, hardships were few, problems were solved easily, and the town's one criminal locked himself in jail after ingesting too much alcohol. The Rodriguez family, like the denizens of Mayberry, emanates love and warmth here. Eleven-year-old Arturo Rodriguez and his family have moved from Mexico to a Los Angeles barrio. Arturo humorously and perceptively narrates his family's daily life as readers revisit common American culture through his eyes, suddenly seeing absurdities. An example is the orange-and-green tiger mascot of his school. Arturo notes that tigers are not orange and green, nor do they exist in Los Angeles. Although the novel is written as a continuous story, each chapter can be read separately. Frequently, Arturo's father remarks, "When no eyes are upon him, that is a person's true test." Indeed, each chapter focuses upon people performing wonderful deeds quietly—an elderly neighbor who finds the family's lost cat in a tree and remains with it throughout the night, a famous basketball player who coaches at Arturo's school for the price of one dollar and anonymity, or a detective who replaces the treasured lunchbox of Arturo's sister after it was destroyed by a gang. Realists might scoff at Arturo's charmed life, yet smile while doing so. This novel intends to portray the goodness of a barrio, not its grim realities. The audience for this book will be intermediate or middle grade students, but readers of all ages will enjoy the heart-warming reminders of small acts meaning more than large ones. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School,defined as grades 6 to 8). 2001, Blue Sky/Scholastic, 128p, $15.95. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer: Lisa Hazlett
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-This novel set in East Los Angeles provides a glimpse of the daily life of an extended Mexican-American family rich in relationships, if not in material possessions. Rather than a linear plot, the vignettes introduce readers to 11-year-old Arturo's family, school life, neighborhood occurrences, and holiday celebrations. Spanish words and phrases are sprinkled throughout as are descriptions of mouth-watering dishes constantly prepared by the boy's Mami and Abuelita. The characters are likable and warm, even if the voice of Arturo seems to be a bit too adult for his years. The message is positive and the episodes, while occasionally serious, are more often humorous and gratifying.-Sharon McNeil, Los Angeles County Office of Education Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sweet as Mexican "dulces", here's an episodic story about life in the Los Angeles barrio. Picture-book veteran Johnston ("Uncle Rain Cloud", not reviewed, etc.) presents her first novel for children, and what a treat it is. Arturo's close-knit family, who arrived from Mexico only three years ago, stands together against the ugliness of the world. "In L.A. there's bad. Druggies. Gangs. Thieves, lifting stuff from houses like army ants." But as Arturo's father says, "In life there is "bueno "and there is "malo". If you do not find enough of the good, you must yourself create it." Vivid, poetic language liberally spiced with Spanish introduces a cast of supporting characters who all in their own ways work to create good, including Leo Love, who returns the family's beloved cat when she gets lost; "Coach Tree," an unidentified retired NBA player who becomes assistant coach to Arturo's basketball team; and Ms. Cloud, the librarian who puts just the right books into the children's hands. When a drive-by shooting threatens all that these people have done, Arturo takes it upon himself to create more good. His personal growth is marked in the opening and closing moments: at the first, he takes back his name from a teacher who tries to "gringo-ize" it; at the last, he works to take the barrio back from the chaos within it. Arturo's narration is by turns wise, witty, and heart-breakingly innocent. Good spirit pervades this narrative, just like the aroma of Abuelita's "chiles rellenos. ¡Maravilloso! "(glossary, not seen) "(Fiction. 9-13)"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780613674799
  • Publisher: San Val, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.57 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2006

    metaphors galore

    I'm a high school teacher working with teens who struggle with reading in an inner city neighborhood. This book is easy to read but also contains mature topics that resonated with my students. I found that this book is a great spring board to discusions about metaphors, social justice, poverty, immigration and many other topics. Completing this book gave my students more confidece in their reading abilities. It leaves the reader with a sense of hope that any small goodness does count.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2008

    WE LOVED IT

    My husband and I are both tecahers. He teaches high school and I teach middle school. We both have read this book with our students and the kids liked it very much. This book mede us laugh.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    Book Lover

    I love this book, and love the way Tony uses words to describe characters and the whole story. One quick book to read to feel warmth and goodness in people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2006

    DON'T READ THIS BOOK!

    I dislikes Any Small Goodness because it was very boring and didn't appeal to me at all.Please don't waste your time with it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2004

    DONT CARE!!

    this book was ok but it mostly sucked!!! ok there was nothing exciting. This book was a great suckfest! It only talks about a boy going through life. At times he's really stupid. This author should be able to write better books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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